Title:
Concrete tile system and method of manufacture
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Tile panel assemblies and systems of manufacturing and installing said tile panels. The tile panels of the subject invention can be used as a covering for walls, roofs, siding, etc. on a variety of structures. In one embodiment, the tiles are manufactured of a lightweight concrete having sufficient strength to withstand extreme weather and wind conditions, as well as normal handling or foot traffic required for installation and maintenance. In a further embodiment, the tiles of the subject invention comprise insulation, preferably foam, affixed thereto. The tile panels are constructed so as to present an overlapping configuration and selectively interlocking systems that provide resistance to negative pressure wind uplifting and enhanced insulation properties. Also disclosed is a tile bracket apparatus that can secure the leading edge of a tile to prevent wind-uplift.



Inventors:
Stone, Damon (Gainesville, FL, US)
Application Number:
11/545160
Publication Date:
05/17/2007
Filing Date:
10/10/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04D1/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
FERENCE, JAMES M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SALIWANCHIK, LLOYD & EISENSCHENK (GAINESVILLE, FL, US)
Claims:
1. A wind-resistant interlocking tile panel comprising: a sheathing surface having a top side, a bottom side, a leading edge, and a trailing edge, wherein the leading edge of a first such tile panel is capable of overlapping a trailing edge of an adjacent second such tile panel when a portion of the bottom side at the leading edge of the first tile panel is positioned over a portion of the top side at the trailing edge of the second tile panel; backing material connected to at least a portion of the bottom side of the sheathing surface; and an interlock channel along the leading edge, the interlock channel configured such that when the leading edge of the first tile panel is positioned to overlap the trailing edge of the second tile panel, a portion of the second tile panel engages the interlock channel of the first tile panel and backing material at the leading edge of the first tile panel abuts backing material at the trailing edge of the second tile panel.

2. The tile panel according to claim 1, wherein at least a portion of the interlock channel is defined by the backing material.

3. The tile panel according to claim 1, wherein the sheathing surface comprises a material selected from the group consisting of metals, clays, concretes, plastics, glass, woods, natural or petroleum-based products, and combinations of any of the foregoing.

4. The tile panel according to claim 1, wherein the sheathing surface comprises a material selected from the group consisting of lightweight concrete, cellular concrete, and lightweight aggregate concrete.

5. The tile panel according to claim 1, wherein the backing material is offset from the leading edge, so that some portion of the bottom side of the sheathing surface at the leading edge extends beyond the backing material.

6. The tile panel according to claim 1, wherein the sheathing surface at the trailing edge of the second tile panel engages the interlock channel of the first tile panel.

7. The tile panel according to claim 1, wherein the backing material is offset from the trailing edge, so that some portion of the bottom side of the sheathing surface at the trailing edge extends beyond the backing material.

8. The tile panel according to claim 7, wherein the sheathing surface at the trailing edge of the second tile panel engages the interlock channel of the first tile panel.

9. The tile panel according to claim 5, wherein the backing material is offset from the trailing edge, so that some portion of the bottom side of the sheathing surface at the trailing edge extends beyond the backing material.

10. The tile panel according to claim 9, wherein the sheathing surface at the trailing edge of the second tile panel engages the interlock channel of the first tile panel.

11. The tile panel according to claim 1, having a width, measured from the leading edge to the trailing edge, of approximately 1.5 feet and a length, measured from each side, of approximately 4 feet.

12. The tile panel according to claim 1, further comprising one or more mounting holes.

13. The tile panel according to claim 12, wherein said mounting holes are at an angle of approximately 40° to approximately 75°, relative to the support surface.

14. The tile panel according to claim 1, wherein the sheathing surface is in a barrel-style formation.

15. The tile panel according to claim 1, wherein the sheathing surface is in a flat-tile formation.

16. The tile panel according to claim 1, wherein the backing material comprises plastics, woods, metals, lightweight concretes, ceramics, clays, foams, or combinations or composites thereof.

17. The tile panel according to claim 1, wherein the backing material comprises a foam.

18. The tile panel according to claim 17, wherein the foam is a rigid and closed-cell material.

19. A wind-resistant interlocking crown tile panel comprising: an elongated sheathing surface having a top side, a bottom side, a leading edge having a collar on the bottom side, and a trailing edge having a groove on the top side; and backing material connected to at least a portion of the bottom side of the sheathing surface and filling at least a portion of the space around a locking track, the locking track extending lengthwise along the bottom side of the crown panel; the crown panel configured such that when the bottom side of the leading edge of a first such crown panel is overlapping the top side of the trailing edge of an adjacent second such crown panel, the collar of the first crown panel is positioned in the groove of the second crown panel.

20. The crown tile panel according to claim 19, wherein the locking track is defined by the backing material.

21. The crown tile panel according to claim 19, wherein the locking track is molded into the sheathing surface.

22. The crown tile panel according to claim 19, wherein the locking track is at least partially defined by material that is different from the backing material, and that is incorporated into the crown panel.

23. The crown tile panel according to claim 19, wherein a portion of the backing material extends forward at the leading edge so as to be received under the trailing edge of an adjacent second such crown panel when the collar of the first such crown panel is positioned in the groove of the second such crown panel.

24. The crown tile panel according to claim 19, wherein a portion of the locking track extends slightly forward at its leading edge so as to be received under the trailing edge of an adjacent second such crown panel when the collar of the first such crown panel is positioned in the groove of the second such crown panel.

25. A wind-resistant drip edge panel comprising: a leading edge guard having a frontside and a backside; at least one interlock flange connected to and extending away from the backside of the leading edge guard; and a drip edge fixedly attached to and extending away from the frontside of the leading edge guard.

26. The drip edge panel according to claim 25, further comprising a single interlock flange extending along at least a portion of the backside of the leading edge guard.

27. The drip edge panel according to claim 25, further comprising a plurality of interlock flanges positioned along the backside of the leading edge guard.

28. A wind-resistant interlocking hip tile panel comprising: an elongated sheathing surface having a top side, a bottom side, a leading edge, and a trailing edge, wherein the leading edge of a first such hip tile panel is capable of overlapping a trailing edge of an adjacent second such hip tile panel when a portion of the bottom side at the leading edge of the first hip tile panel is positioned over a portion of the top side at the trailing edge of the second hip tile panel; backing material connected to at least a portion of the bottom side of the sheathing surface and filling at least a portion of the space around a locking track, the locking track extending lengthwise along the bottom side of the hip panel; and an interlock channel along the leading edge, the interlock channel configured such that when the leading edge of the first hip tile panel is positioned to overlap the trailing edge of the second hip tile panel, a portion of the second hip tile panel engages the interlock channel of the first hip tile panel.

29. The hip tile panel according to claim 28, wherein at least a portion of the interlock channel is defined by the backing material, the interlock channel configured such that when the leading edge of the first hip tile panel is positioned to overlap the trailing edge of the second hip tile panel, a portion of the second hip tile panel engages the interlock channel of the first tile panel and backing material at the leading edge of the first hip tile panel abuts backing material at the trailing edge of the second hip tile panel.

30. The hip tile panel according to claim 28, wherein the backing material is offset from the leading edge, so that some portion of the bottom side of the sheathing surface at the leading edge extends beyond the backing material.

31. The hip tile panel according to claim 28, wherein the sheathing surface at the trailing edge of the second hip tile panel engages the interlock channel of the first hip tile panel.

32. The hip tile panel according to claim 28, wherein the backing material is offset from the trailing edge, so that some portion of the bottom side of the sheathing surface at the trailing edge extends beyond the backing material.

33. The hip tile panel according to claim 32, wherein the sheathing surface at the trailing edge of the second hip tile panel engages the interlock channel of the first hip tile panel.

34. The hip tile panel according to claim 30, wherein the backing material is offset from the trailing edge, so that some portion of the bottom side of the sheathing surface at the trailing edge extends beyond the backing material.

35. The hip tile panel according to claim 34, wherein the sheathing surface at the trailing edge of the second hip tile panel engages the interlock channel of the first hip tile panel.

36. The hip tile panel according to claim 28, wherein the locking track is defined by the backing material.

37. The hip tile panel according to claim 28, wherein the locking track is molded into the sheathing surface.

38. The hip tile panel according to claim 28, wherein the locking track is at least partially defined by material that is different from the backing material and that is incorporated into the crown panel.

39. A wind-resistant interlocking gable tile panel comprising: an elongated sheathing surface having a top side, a bottom side, an outside edge, an inside edge, a leading edge, and a trailing edge, wherein the leading edge of a first such gable tile panel is capable of overlapping a trailing edge of an adjacent second such gable tile panel when a portion of the bottom side at the leading edge of the first gable tile panel is positioned over a portion of the top side at the trailing edge of the second gable tile panel; backing material connected to at least a portion of the bottom side of the sheathing surface and filling at least a portion of the space around a locking track, the locking track extending lengthwise along the bottom side of the gable panel; an interlock channel along the leading edge, the interlock channel configured such that when the leading edge of the first gable tile panel is positioned to overlap the trailing edge of the second gable tile panel, a portion of the second gable tile panel engages the interlock channel of the first gable tile panel; and wherein the outside edge of the sheathing surface extends lower than the inside edge of the sheathing surface when the panel is viewed end-on with the locking channel in a lengthwise-horizontal perspective.

40. An interlocking roof tile panel system comprising: a plurality of tile panels, each comprising a sheathing surface having a top side, a bottom side, a leading edge, and a trailing edge, wherein the leading edge of a first such tile panel is capable of overlapping a trailing edge of an adjacent second such tile panel when a portion of the bottom side at the leading edge of the first tile panel is positioned over a portion of the top side at the trailing edge of the second tile panel; backing material connected to at least a portion of the bottom side of the sheathing surface; an interlock channel along the leading edge, the interlock channel configured such that when the leading edge of the first tile panel is positioned to overlap the trailing edge of the second tile panel, a portion of the second tile panel engages the interlock channel of the first tile panel and backing material at the leading edge of the first tile panel abuts backing material at the trailing edge of the second tile panel; a plurality of drip edge panels, each comprising a leading edge guard having a frontside and a backside; at least one interlock flange connected to and extending away from the backside of the leading edge guard; a drip edge fixedly attached to and extending away from the frontside of the leading edge guard; a plurality of hip tile panels each comprising an elongated sheathing surface having a top side, a bottom side, a leading edge, and a trailing edge, wherein the leading edge of a first such hip tile panel is capable of overlapping a trailing edge of an adjacent second such hip tile panel when a portion of the bottom side at the leading edge of the first hip tile panel is positioned over a portion of the top side at the trailing edge of the second hip tile panel; backing material connected to at least a portion of the bottom side of the sheathing surface and filling at least a portion of the space around a locking track, the locking track extending lengthwise along the bottom side of the hip panel; an interlock channel along the leading edge, the interlock channel configured such that when the leading edge of the first hip tile panel is positioned to overlap the trailing edge of the second hip tile panel, a portion of the second hip tile panel engages the interlock channel of the first hip tile panel; and a plurality of crown tile panels, each comprising an elongated sheathing surface having a top side, a bottom side, a leading edge having a collar on the bottom side, and a trailing edge having a groove on the top side; backing material connected to at least a portion of the bottom side of the sheathing surface and filling at least a portion of the space around a locking track, the locking track extending lengthwise along the bottom side of the crown panel; the crown panel configured such that when the bottom side of the leading edge of a first such crown panel is overlapping the top side of the trailing edge of an adjacent second such crown panel, the collar of the first crown panel is positioned in the groove of the second crown panel; wherein the interlock flanges of the drip edge panels are complimentarily configured so as to engage an interlock channel along the leading edge of one or more tile panels.

41. The roof tile panel system according to claim 40, further comprising: a plurality of gable tile panels, each comprising an elongated sheathing surface having a top side, a bottom side, an outside edge, an inside edge, a leading edge, and a trailing edge, wherein the leading edge of a first such gable tile panel is capable of overlapping a trailing edge of an adjacent second such gable tile panel when a portion of the bottom side at the leading edge of the first gable tile panel is positioned over a portion of the top side at the trailing edge of the second gable tile panel; backing material connected to at least a portion of the bottom side of the sheathing surface and filling at least a portion of the space around a locking track, the locking track extending lengthwise along the bottom side of the gable panel; an interlock channel along the leading edge, the interlock channel configured such that when the leading edge of the first gable tile panel is positioned to overlap the trailing edge of the second gable tile panel, a portion of the second gable tile panel engages the interlock channel of the first gable tile panel; and wherein the outside edge of the sheathing surface extends lower than the inside edge of the sheathing surface when the panel is viewed end-on with the locking channel in a lengthwise-horizontal perspective.

42. A wind-resistant interlocking tile panel comprising: a sheathing surface having a top side, a bottom side, a leading edge, a trailing edge, and a mounting hole proximal to the trailing edge, the trailing edge being above the mounting hole, wherein the leading edge of a first such tile panel is capable of overlapping a trailing edge and mounting hole of an adjacent second such tile panel when a portion of the bottom side at the leading edge of the first tile panel is positioned over a portion of the top side at the trailing edge of the second tile panel; backing material connected to at least a portion of the bottom side of the sheathing surface; and means for interlocking said leading edge with the trailing edge of an adjacent second tile panel wherein when the leading edge of the first tile panel is positioned to interlock with the trailing edge of the adjacent second tile panel, the means for interlocking is located above the mounting hole of the second tile panel.

43. The tile panel according to claim 42, wherein the means for interlocking comprises a tenon extending from the leading edge and a mortise at the trailing edge of a tile panel, such that when the tenon of a first such tile panel is engaged with the mortise of an adjacent second such tile panel, a portion of the leading edge of the first tile panel will overlap the trailing edge of the second tile panel.

44. The tile panel according to claim 43, wherein the means for interlocking further comprises a partial mortise at each comer of the trailing edge, such that when two of the tile panels are placed side by side, the trailing edge corners that abut one another form a mortise at the point where the trailing edges of the two panels meet.

45. The tile panel according to claim 42, wherein the means for interlocking comprises a mortise at the leading edge and a tenon extending from the trailing edge, such that when the mortise of a first such tile panel is engaged with the tenon of an adjacent second such tile panel, a portion of the leading edge of the first tile panel will overlap the trailing edge of the second tile panel.

46. The tile panel according to claim 42, wherein the means for interlocking comprises an interlock channel along the leading edge, the interlock channel configured such that when the leading edge of the first tile panel is positioned to overlap the trailing edge of the second tile panel, a portion of the second tile panel engages the interlock channel of the first tile panel.

47. The tile panel according to claim 46, wherein at least a portion of the interlock channel is defined by the backing material.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION(S)

The present application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional application Ser. No. 60/724,831, filed Oct. 7, 2005, which is hereby incorporated by reference herein in its entirety, including any figures, tables, or drawings.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The subject invention relates to a selectively interlocking tile covering system for homes, buildings, or other structures. Specifically, the subject invention relates to a four-sided interlocking tile panel covering system that utilizes an insulated lightweight concrete tile. The subject invention further relates to a method for manufacturing the concrete tiles and means for utilizing the tiles as a roof covering system.

In many parts of the world, concrete or clay tiles are utilized on homes, buildings and an assortment of other structures. In their simplest design, overlapping tiles are positioned on an underlying support system. When used for roofing, the tiles are placed on the roof decking or other support system. Such installations are usually not overly secured and are easily destroyed under extreme environmental conditions. Such tile systems are especially vulnerable during high wind conditions, for example during hurricanes. It is not uncommon for high winds passing or crossing over the tiles to produce a negative pressure or Bernoulli effect, whereby air space under unsecured or ineffectively secured tiles is evacuated by high winds causing tiles to be more easily raised up from underlying roofing structure and displaced, or completely removed from a roof. Tile roofing systems have been devised that are more secure, but such systems often require complicated means for manufacturing and installing tiles, see for example U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,743,059 and 6,604,336; or for securing them to the underlying roof structure, see for example U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,323,580; 5,522,187; and 5,921,045.

In addition, it is well-known in the art that insulating the roof and/or walls of a structure can increase energy efficiency. But, there have been few options available that provide direct roofing insulation that is cost-effective and easily installed. See for example U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,062,250; 5,069,950; and 5,787,668.

The subject invention addresses these issues by providing a roofing tile panel and a system of installation that creates a roof covering having high wind resistance, as well as insulating properties. The tiles of the subject invention are also relatively easy to manufacture and install, making them a cost-effective alternative to standard roofing tiles. Also provided in the subject application is a roofing accessory that is easily installed and can increase the wind resistance of existing tile designs.

BRIEF SUMMARY

The subject invention pertains to tile panels, as well as systems of manufacturing and installing said tile panels. The tile panels of the subject invention are particularly well-suited as a roof covering system. However, a person with skill in the art after reviewing the following description will recognize a diverse number of other uses for the tile panels and teachings of the subject invention, including for example, as a covering for walls, siding, etc.

In one embodiment, the tiles are manufactured of a lightweight concrete having sufficient strength to withstand extreme weather and wind conditions, as well as normal handling or foot traffic often required for installation and maintenance, especially when utilized as a roof covering. In a further embodiment, the subject invention provides a tile panel assembly wherein the tile panels may comprise insulation affixed thereto. The tile panels are constructed so as to present an overlapping configuration that can, preferably, interlock on all four sides to provide resistance to negative pressure wind uplifting. In a still further embodiment, the tile panels utilize a backing material to lend additional strength to the tile panels and, further, to reduce the amount of air space between the underlying roof structure and the panels. For example, a foam, or foam-like, material can be utilized to fill the space under the tiles and reduce air space. Reduction of the available air space can further reduce or eliminate the effects of wind uplift caused by negative pressure, i.e., the Bernoulli effect, and can additionally provide insulation properties to the tiles.

In certain embodiments, the backing material can also be formed to provide a four-sided interlocking tile system that holds and/or stabilizes tile panels against each other and the underlying roof structure(s), as well as reducing the amount of surrounding air space. However, in certain alternative embodiments, the sheathing surface can be formed, according to the subject invention, to provide a four-sided interlocking tile system also capable of holding and/or stabilizing tile panels against each other and the underlying roof structure(s).

By way of example, one or more edges of the tiles are cut, shaped or otherwise formed to provide a selectively-interlocking covering, similar to, for example, a mortise and tenon arrangement. In a further embodiment, the leading edge of a tile of the subject invention is formed to provide an interlock channel, or mortise-like opening, and the trailing edge is formed to provide an insertion edge, or tenon-like extension. Thus, in this embodiment of the roofing system of the subject invention, the insertion edge, formed at or near the trailing edge of one tile, engages the interlock channel formed at or near the leading edge of another higher adjacent tile, such that the leading edge of the higher tile overlaps the trailing edge of the lower tile. In preferred embodiments, the leading edge overlaps the trailing edge and covers the mounting hole of the first tile, minimizing its exposure to the elements. The means for interlocking the leading edge of one tile with the trailing edge of another, lower tile is located higher (up-roof) than the mounting hole and fastener that are proximal to the trailing edge of the lower tile panel.

In an embodiment, the tile panels, once interlocked, can be attached to an underlying roofing structure, or roof decking utilizing standard roofing nails or screws. The tile system of the subject invention also provides specialized tiles for covering roof apex points, hip lines, and drip edges.

Alternative embodiments of the subject invention utilize tiles that have a mortise and tenon (also referred to as tongue-and-groove) type, or similar, configuration. In this embodiment, the leading edge of a tile is formed with at least one protrusion or tenon and the trailing edge of one, or conversely two, tiles form at least one corresponding opening or mortise. In such embodiments, the tenon(s) of a first tile can be positioned within the mortise(s) of one or more second tile(s), such that the leading edge of the first tile overlaps the trailing edge of the second tile(s).

Still further alternative embodiments of the subject application provide tile brackets that can be affixed to or incorporated into the upper surface of existing prior art tiles, or the novel tiles of the subject invention. The brackets secure the leading edge of tiles to provide greater wind resistance. In such embodiments, one or more tile brackets can be affixed to or incorporated into the upper surface of a first tile, at or near its trailing edge. A second tile is positioned to overlap the trailing edge of the first tile such that the leading edge of the second tile is received by the one or more tile brackets positioned on the trailing edge of the first tile. The tile bracket arm is generally designed to extend over the leading edge of the second tile to prevent it from being lifted once positioned in the tile bracket(s).

The various embodiments of the subject invention are designed to secure at least the leading edges of installed tiles and, in preferred embodiments, the side and/or trailing edges as well, to prevent wind-uplift and/or the Bernoulli Effect from removing or breaking the tiles during high wind conditions. The more secure the edges of the tiles, and the less air space under the tiles, the less likely the tiles will be lifted off or broken off by high winds.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In order that a more precise understanding of the above recited invention is obtained, a more particular description of the invention briefly described above will be rendered by reference to specific embodiments thereof that are illustrated in the appended drawings. Understanding that these drawings depict only typical embodiments of the invention and are not therefore to be considered as limiting in scope, the invention will be described and explained with additional specificity and detail through the use of the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the subject invention illustrating a barrel-style tile.

FIG. 2A is an end-view of the upwardly-curved side of a tile shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 2B is an end-view of a flat tile embodiment of the subject invention.

FIG. 3A is an end-view of the downwardly-curved side of a tile shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3B is a bottom plan view of a flat tile embodiment of the subject invention.

FIG. 4 is a cross-section of a downwardly-curved section of the tile shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 5 is a cross-section of an upwardly-curved section of the tile shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 6A is a side-view of an alternative embodiment of the subject invention illustrating a flat-style tile.

FIG. 6B is an enlarged view of the connecting means and interlocking mechanism of an embodiment of the subject invention as shown in FIG. 6A.

FIG. 7A is an end-view of an embodiment of a crown panel that can be utilized with the subject invention.

FIG. 7B is a side-view of an embodiment of a crown panel that can be utilized with the subject invention.

FIG. 7C is a cross-section of a side-view of an embodiment of a ridge panel that can be utilized with the subject invention.

FIG. 7D is a side view of an embodiment of the crown panels shown in FIGS. 7A, 7B, and 7C, illustrating how they can be interconnected.

FIG. 8A is a perspective view of an embodiment of a hip panel that can be utilized with the subject invention.

FIG. 8B is a cross-section of a side-view of the embodiment of a hip panel shown in FIG. 8A.

FIG. 9 is a side-view of an embodiment of a drip panel that can be utilized with the subject invention.

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of the embodiment of a drip panel, as shown in FIG. 9.

FIG. 11 is a perspective view of an embodiment of a roof end panel that can be utilized with the subject invention.

FIG. 12A is a perspective view of an embodiment of a tenon and mortise (or tongue-and-groove) tile design that can be utilized with the subject invention. This embodiment illustrates a dove-tail configuration.

FIG. 12B is a view of FIG. 12A wherein the full configuration of the tenon and mortise (or tongue-and-groove) of this embodiment can be seen.

FIG. 12C is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of a tenon and mortise (or tongue-and-groove) tile design that can be utilized with the subject invention. This embodiment illustrates an alternate dove-tail configuration.

FIG. 12D is a view of FIG. 12C wherein the full configuration of the tenon and mortise (or tongue-and-groove) of this alternative embodiment can be seen.

FIG. 13A is a perspective view a tile bracket embodiment of the subject invention.

FIG. 13B is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the tile bracket of the subject invention.

FIG. 14 is a cross-sectional side view of an alternative embodiment of the tile panel of the subject invention.

DETAILED DISCLOSURE

With reference to the attached figures, which show certain embodiments of the subject invention, it can be seen that the subject invention pertains to four-sided interlocking tile panels and systems for utilizing and installing the tile panels. One embodiment utilizes an overlap interlocking system wherein an edge of one tile overlaps and interlocks with an edge of another tile. A second embodiment utilizes a tenon and mortise (or tongue-and-groove) mechanism wherein one or more tenons of one tile can interlock with one or more mortises formed by at least one other tile. A third embodiment provides a tile bracket mechanism that can be affixed to a first tile so as to secure the leading edge of an overlapping second tile. The selectively-interlocking tile panel embodiments and the tile bracket mechanism will be discussed in detail below.

I. Overlap Interlocking Tile Panel

The Overlap Interlock tile panels of the subject invention can provide increased durability and resistance to a variety of weather conditions, including extreme environmental events with high wind conditions. The tiles are preferably manufactured from one or more lightweight concretes, known in the art, which allows them to advantageously be utilized in a variety of construction areas, usually without additional reinforcement of the underlying support system, for example a roof decking. In addition, the tiles of the subject invention are reinforced with a backing material, for example a foam or foam-like material, that provides additional strength and insulating properties, as well as minimizing airspace beneath the tiles, lending them advantageous characteristics in high wind conditions. When installed, the tile panels 10 of the subject invention are secured on all sides, wherein at least two sides utilize a selectively interlocking system and at least two other sides are secured by the overlap of adjacently positioned tiles. These features, combined with the backing material to minimize air space under the tiles, can provide a high wind resistant four-sided interlocking roof cover. In preferred embodiments, the panels are rigid; the rigidity ideally being a characteristic conveyed by the material used to make the sheathing surface, the backing material, or both of them.

For the purposes of this application only, the tile panels of the subject invention are described as a roof covering. This description should not be construed as a limitation in practicing the subject invention.

With reference to the attached figures, which show certain embodiments of the subject invention, it can be seen that the tile panels 10 comprise a sheathing surface 12 that overlays a backing material. The sheathing surface 12 can be manufactured from a variety of materials, including, but not limited to, various metals, plastics, glass, woods, as well as natural or petroleum-based products or any combinations or composites thereof, etc., as are well known and would be readily apparent to those skilled in the art. In standard applications, tiles are usually manufactured from clay, concrete, or various composites or blends thereof, and such materials as those and others mentioned herein above may also be utilized in conjunction with the subject invention. Such tiles may also be reinforced with a variety of materials. However, standard clay or concrete, especially if reinforced, tends to be heavy, and may require additional reinforcement of roofing structure and decking. Therefore, it may be preferable, but not required, to use a lighter weight material.

In alternative embodiments, the sheathing surface 12 of the tile panel of the subject invention is manufactured from a lightweight concrete, for example, various cellular concrete products, or lightweight aggregate concretes, such as GRANCRETE®, or other similar products as are well known to those skilled in the art. In a further alternative embodiment, a foaming agent may be incorporated into a concrete mix, as is also known in the art, to reduce weight, without adversely affecting the strength of the concrete necessary for utilization with the subject invention.

The methods and techniques of manufacturing tiles are well-known in the art. For example, tiles can be formed in molds, extruded, or stamp constructed. The sheathing surfaces 12 of the subject invention can be manufactured, utilizing standard techniques, to required thicknesses, which will be determined by their ultimate construction application. For example, when utilized as wall or siding cover, it may be possible to construct the sheathing surface 12 of a relatively thin layer of lightweight concrete. However, for other applications, for example roofing construction, a thicker layer of lightweight concrete could be utilized. When utilized as roofing tile panels, the sheathing surface 12, in a preferred embodiment, is approximately ⅛″ to about ½″ in thickness. In a more preferred embodiment, the thickness is from about ¼″ to about ⅜″. In a most preferred embodiment, the sheathing surface 12 is about 5/16″ in thickness. In addition to other desirable characteristics, known to those with skill in the art, lightweight concrete provides sufficient durability to allow walking, kneeling, etc. on the tiles during installation. The concrete is also resistant to wind and water. If desirable, the concrete can also be tinted or colored before, during, or after the manufacture of the tile panels of the subject invention using well-known techniques and products. Utilizing lightweight concrete for the sheathing surface 12 allows the tile panels 10 to be used on standard roofing or decking assemblies 16, usually without the need for reinforcements, which are sometimes necessary with standard clay or concrete tile roofs. It is also possible to utilize existing manufacturing techniques, molds, etc. that would be used with standard clay or concrete tile manufacture. Therefore, the tile panels of the subject invention can save costs on manufacturing, construction materials, and time. A further advantage of lightweight concrete is that it can be molded and shaped to provide almost any desired configuration, for example as shown in FIG. 1. In a preferred embodiment, the tile panels of the subject invention are colored and shaped to look like standard clay tiles. However, it should be understood that any shape or configuration could be utilized, including variations on the standard clay tile design. For example, in an alternative embodiment, the tile panels of the subject invention are a flat or shingle-type style. In a further alternative embodiment, the shingle tiles of the subject invention are manufactured and colored to mimic standard shingles, slate or other flat or contoured tile designs.

In most tile roofing construction, tiles are laid in an overlapping fashion and it is usually the weight of the tiles and the friction between the rough tile surfaces that hold the tiles in place. In some situations, the tiles may be secured to the roof decking, or underlying support structure. This can be accomplished by a variety of means including the use of grout or an adhesive, or nailing or screwing the tiles to the roof decking. In a preferred embodiment of the subject invention, each tile panel 10 is secured to the roof decking. This provides resistance to wind-lifting or other forces that could reposition the tiles. Therefore, in a further preferred embodiment, one or more openings or mounting holes 14 are created in the tiles, by techniques known to those with skill in the art, to accommodate their attachment to a roof decking. For example, the holes may be formed in the sheathing surface 12, and/or the backing material during manufacture of a tile panel 10, or alternatively could be created in the tile panel after manufacture. In a further preferred embodiment, the openings or mounting holes 14 can be formed at angles, such that the nails or screws are inserted at angles relative to the roof decking 16, rather than perpendicular to the roof decking. In a still further preferred embodiment, the openings or mounting holes 14 are at approximately 40° to about 75°, relative to the roof decking or other support surface. This technique can increase the holding strength of nails or screws. Another consideration is the number of mounting holes created in the tiles, which will vary depending upon the type of tile. It is preferable for the tiles to have a sufficient number of mounting holes 14 so as to provide adequate resistance to wind lifting. The mounting holes 14 extend through the sheathing surface 12 and the associated backing material 20, which will be discussed below. The mounting holes 14 can be in any location on the tile panel. However, for certain tile shapes, for example, barrel-style tiles it is preferable for the mounting holes 14 to be located where there is a minimum distance between the sheathing surface and the support structure, e.g., roof decking. For example, as illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 5, if utilizing barrel-style tiles, it may be preferable to have mounting holes 14 in the downward-curved areas, preferably at the bottom of a curve, closest to the roof decking. Further, as illustrated in FIG. 6, it is preferred that mounting holes 14 be located in an area of the tile that is proximal to its trailing edge so that the mounting hole is covered by the overlap of another tile when in its final assembled configuration, so that exposure of the fastener to the elements is minimized.

In a further preferred embodiment, the tiles can be connected to the roof decking utilizing standard screws or nails and equipment known to those with skill in art. In addition, an adhesive, grout, sealing, or similar material can be used in addition to nailing or screwing the tiles to the roof decking. This can assist in maintaining the proper positions of the tile panels, and in regions of more prevalent strong wind conditions, provide desirable additional resistance to wind-lifting. In a preferred embodiment, an adhesive, such as those known in the art, is applied either to the backing material of the tile panels, the surface of the support structure, or both of them, prior to installation to adhere the tile panels to the roof decking or other support structure.

The tiles of the subject invention can be manufactured to a variety of lengths and widths. Tile panels 10 that cover a larger surface area can be easier to install and reduce labor costs. In one embodiment, the tile panels 10 of the subject invention could be manufactured to a standard size of approximately 12- in length (from the leading edge 150 to the trailing edge 300) and approximately 18″ in width (side-to-side). However, in a preferred embodiment, the tile panels 10 of the subject invention can each cover approximately 3 to 4 feet of surface area. However, a person with skill in the art will recognize that the length and width of the tiles would be based upon the desired roof style and design. Utilizing moldable lightweight concrete makes it possible to create numerous tile designs, including for example, Roman, Greek, Italian, English, Spanish, etc. designs, or entirely unique tile designs, without significantly altering the methods of the subject invention. Further, the ultimate shape and size of the tiles utilized with any design will be dependent upon the given structure to which the tiles are to be installed.

As mentioned above, wind-lifting of tiles on a roof is a significant factor to consider in many areas of the world. In order to combat this effect, it is desirable to reduce or minimize the amount of air space under the tile panels. The subject invention utilizes a material on the bottom side 24 of the sheathing surface 12 to reduce the amount of air space under the tiles. By reducing the amount of air space that is present under tile panels 10 when assembled according to the teachings herein, the tile panel 10 is less susceptible to lifting by wind. Numerous materials and techniques useful for filling or reducing the air space on the bottom side 24 of the tile panels 10 of the subject invention will be apparent to one with skill in the art. For example, backing materials can be selected from various materials, including plastics, woods, metals, lightweight concretes, ceramics, clays, foams, or combinations or composites thereof.

In one embodiment, the tile panels are constructed of materials capable of rendering a “cellular solid” product. In this embodiment, the tile can be created with any of a variety of decorative outer surface shapes, and styles, but could have a bottom surface 24 that conforms to the shape of the support surface to which it will be attached. For example, a barrel-style tile panel to be utilized on a roof decking could have a rolling or curved top surface 26 and the bottom surface 24 could be substantially flat so as to lay or be adhered flush against the roof decking.

In other embodiments, a backing material 20 can be utilized with the subject invention. In a preferred embodiment, the backing material 20 utilized with the subject invention should be water resistant and easily formable to accommodate a variety of shapes of tile panel 10. It should also be of sufficient rigidity to maintain its shape during manufacture and installation of the tile panels and during high wind conditions. Further, a high insulation capability, or R value, is desirable. Depending upon the type or style of backing material utilized, it can be applied, affixed or connected to the sheathing surface by a variety of techniques known in the art. By way of example, certain types of backing materials 20 can be pre-formed to the required shape of the sheathing surface to which it will be adhered, or alternative means to conform the shape of the backing material 20 to the required shape of the sheathing surface 12 may be utilized.

In a further example, backing materials 20 may be applied to the inside surface of the sheathing surface 12 by various spray techniques known to those with skill in the art, or, as another example, layers of backing material could be stacked and formed to fill the space under the sheathing surface 12. In a further example, the backing material can be formed in molds compatible with the shape of the bottom side 24 of the sheathing surface 12. In various alternative embodiments, the backing material may be extended beyond the edges of the sheathing surface. In various alternative embodiments, the backing material may be extended beyond one or more edges of the sheathing surface. In generally preferred embodiments, the backing material does not extend beyond, and may be offset from, one or more edges of the sheathing surface.

In an alternative embodiment, the sheathing surface 12 can be manufactured to have a relatively flat bottom side 24, regardless of the design, contours or shape of the top side 26 of the sheathing surface. Thus, it would not be necessary to mold or form backing material 20 to the shape of the potentially variable top side 26. In this embodiment, backing material can be attached to the bottom side 24 of the sheathing surface 12 using a variety of techniques, without the need to shape or mold the foam to conform to a particular shape of the sheathing layer. The bottom of the sheathing layer 12 can be flat and flat panels of backing material 20 could readily be fixedly attached thereto.

In still further alternative embodiments, the sheathing layer 12 comprises a composite material. Such a composite material could comprise, for example, foam particulate matter or a foam core encapsulated in concrete, clay, or other material. In such an embodiment, the sheathing surface 12 could be prepared, as described above, with any variety of top side 26 configurations and a bottom surface 24 that conforms to the shape of the support surface to which it will be attached. In further alternative embodiments, additional backing material 20 could be affixed to the bottom surface 24 of the composite material to provide additional insulation and/or resistance to wind lifting by thoroughly filling all available air space under the sheathing surface 12.

In preferred embodiments, substantially rigid, closed-cell foam is utilized as a backing material 20 with the tile panels 10 of the subject invention, for example, not limited to, polystyrene and/or polyurethane foam. Substantially rigid, closed-cell foam backing material 20 can resist water absorption and/or retention and provide additional strength to the tile panels of the subject invention. Further, it can provide a high insulation capacity and can be made to conform to any shape or style of sheathing surface, flat or otherwise. In more preferred embodiments, polystyrene and/or polyurethane foam is used in conjunction with the sheathing surface 12.

In further preferred embodiments, the tile panels 10 are of a laminate construction, wherein foam backing material 20 is pre-formed to match the shape of the underside 24 of the sheathing surface to which it is to be adhered, for example, as shown in FIGS. 1-5 and in FIGS. 6A and 6B. In other embodiments, the backing material can be offset from one or more edges of the sheathing material. In alternative embodiments, the backing material can extend to one or more edges of the sheathing surface or, in a still further alternative embodiment, the backing material can extend over and/or beyond one or more edges of the sheathing surface.

The rigid closed-cell foam backing material 20 can be fixedly attached to the sheathing surface in a variety of ways, including using adhesives or tapes, screws, nuts, bolts, nails, etc. It can also be integrated into the sheathing surface, for example by providing a means for the lightweight concrete of the sheathing surface 12 to incorporate into a surface of the foam backing material 20, such as, for example, during the manufacturing process.

In one embodiment, concrete or other suitable tile material can be poured, sprayed, or otherwise distributed into a tile mold and vibrated to evacuate any air pockets or bubbles in the material. A pre-molded foam surface 22 can then be pressed into, or otherwise brought into contact with the concrete on the eventual bottom side 24 of the sheathing surface before the concrete “sets” into the preferred tile panel shape. In this embodiment, it is important that the surface of the foam that is to be laminated with the concrete be relatively clean and free of debris so as to ensure good adherence with the concrete or other material. In another embodiment, the molded surface 22 of the foam backing material 20 is prepared prior to being pressed into the concrete to provide a corrugated or roughened surface, grooves or other types of depressions for the concrete to enmesh with or adhere to, in order to hold the foam securely against the bottom side 24 of the sheathing surface.

In a preferred embodiment, an expanding foam liquid material is utilized with the tile panels of the subject invention. In this embodiment, any of a variety of foams in a liquid or semi-liquid form, known to those with skill in the art, can be poured, sprayed, or otherwise distributed onto at least a portion of the back of a tile sheathing surface. In a preferred embodiment, almost the entire back surface of a tile sheathing surface is covered with expanding foam. In a further preferred embodiment, the subject invention is utilized with a liquid foam material that forms a closed-cell, rigid, or semi-rigid foam backing material. For example, urethane or polyurethane foam liquid are well-known in the art and could be used with the subject invention. However, a person with skill in the art would be able to determine one or more foam materials that would be suitable for use in the particular environment and/or the intended use of the tile panels of the subject invention. For example, in certain applications, it may be preferable to utilize open-cell foam.

As mentioned previously, it is desirable to reduce or eliminate the amount of air space under and around the tile panels. For the backing material 20 to effectively reduce the air space, it should fill as much available space as is practical between the roof decking 16, or other support structure, and the underside 24 of the sheathing surface. Therefore, the surface of the bottom side of the backing material 28 can ideally conform to the shape of the roof decking or other support to which it will be adhered. For example, the surface of the bottom side of 28 of a backing material 20 can be flat so as to lie against a standard plywood roof decking 16. In the preferred embodiment, tile panels 10 with cross-sections of various heights, such as for example, barrel- or Spanish-style tiles, will have the thickness of the backing material vary across different sections of the tile. An example of this embodiment is shown in FIGS. 1-5, wherein FIG. 1 is an example of a tile panel utilizing a curvilinear sheathing surface 12 and FIGS. 4 and 5 illustrate how the thickness of the backing material 20, such as, for example, foam, will vary at different length-wise cross-sections of the tile panel 10.

As mentioned above, in a preferred embodiment, the tile panels of the subject invention can be manufactured with any of a variety of foam backing materials. As mentioned above, one side of the foam backing material can be pre-formed to conform to the shape of the tile sheathing surface. In this embodiment, the side of the backing material that will be in contact with the roof decking 16 can also be manufactured in shapes that will conform to the surface shape(s) of the roof decking. In a preferred embodiment discussed above, the backing material can comprise a liquid expanding foam. In this embodiment, the fully expanded and sufficiently cured foam can be cut by techniques known in the art to any shape necessary to conform to a roof decking.

For certain applications of the tile panels of the subject invention, such as a roof covering, it may be necessary to adjust the angle at which the tile panels overlap. This can ensure that the tile panels more accurately or closely follow the angle or pitch of a roof. In standard roofing tiles, it is well known in the art to taper or slant the trailing edge 150 of a tile so that overlying tiles do not adopt a step-wise progression up the slope of the roof, which can prevent the tiles from laying flush with the roof decking or other underlying support, particularly at or near the lower roof line or ridge line. In the subject invention, the backing material 20 can be molded, cut or otherwise formed to achieve an angle sufficient to ensure flush mounting of the installed tiles on a roof. For example, FIGS. 4 and 5 illustrate flat tile panels wherein the backing material is formed at an angle such that the thickness of the foam material at the trailing edge 300 of the tile panel is less than that at the leading edge. This allows the trailing edges of tile panels to be overlapped by the leading edges of tile panels and still maintain generally complete contact with a roof decking.

As mentioned above, the tile panels may be secured to an underlying support using nails, screws, etc., optionally along with an adhesive, grout, or similar material. By maximizing the contact area between the backing material 20 and the underlying support, it allows for a greater surface area between the backing material 20 of the tile panel and the underlying support structure to be held together using an adhesive, grout, or other material. The thickness of the foam can vary depending upon the type or style of sheathing surface utilized, the environmental conditions, available installation space, or type of foam utilized, etc. A person with skill in the art will be able to determine an appropriate foam thickness to achieve adequate insulation properties and/or tile support. In order for the tile panels 10 to overlap, as usually desired for tile installations, it is necessary to ensure that the backing material 20, such as, for example, foam, or other material (composite, cellular solid, etc.) under the sheathing surface is contoured or formed to provide sufficient clearance to accommodate the surrounding tiles. In certain embodiments, the backing material 20 of foam or other material extends only partially to the edges of the tile panels 10. This provides an insertion gap 30 around the tile panels 10 to accommodate the surrounding tile panels 10. In a preferred embodiment, the backing material 20 is extended to the edge of the tile panels 10 a sufficient distance so that, when installed, it will buttress against the backing material 20, for example, foam, or other material, in the surrounding tile panels to create a substantially contiguous, preferably foam, layer across a roof or other structure under the sheathing surface 12. This allows for the interlocking of the tiles during installation, which further increases their resistance to wind-lifting. One example of this embodiment is shown in the barrel-style tile panels in FIGS. 2A and 3A, wherein the overlapping side edge 32 of the first sheathing surface 12, shown in FIG. 3, is angled to fit over and against the underlying side edge 34 of a second sheathing surface 12 so that the backing material 20 underneath both sheathing surfaces 12 is adjacent to form an essentially contiguous layer. A further example of the overlapping side edges 32 and 34 are shown in FIGS. 2B and 3B, wherein flat-style panels are shown with an overlapping side edge 32 and an underlying side edge 34 shown on a tile panel.

For certain styles of tile panels 10, it is possible to further include one or more interlock channels 36, for example, as shown in FIGS. 4, 5, 6A and 6B. One or more interlock channels 36 can allow the tile panels 10 to be firmly seated against each other to provide further stability after installation. The one or more interlock channels 36 can further reduce the ability of tile panels 10 to be lifted, twisted or otherwise displaced. In this embodiment, the edge of the sheathing surface 12 of an upper located tile panel 10 is positioned above a lower second tile panel 10, which has been mounted on the support structure, and the interlock channel 36 of the upper tile panel engages the edge of the sheathing surface 12 of the lower mounted second tile panel. As mentioned above, the offset, preferably foam, backing material 20 on each tile panel when installed will be adjacent to form an essentially contiguous layer under the sheathing surfaces 12. An example of this embodiment is shown in FIGS. 6A and 6B. In a preferred embodiment, a tile panel 10 comprises at least one interlock channel 36 at the leading edge 150 to accommodate the trailing edge of at least one other tile panel 10. In this embodiment, an interlock channel is formed under one or more sheathing surfaces wherein the bottom side of the sheathing surface defines some portion of the interlock channel, such that the top side of the trailing edge 300 of one sheathing surface is in contact with the bottom side of the leading edge 150 of a second sheathing surface.

In alternative embodiments, the leading edge 150 of a sheathing layer can be modified to include one or more interlock channels. In such embodiments, the trailing edge 300 of a first sheathing surface of one tile panel can be positioned within the interlock channel 36 in the leading edge 150 of the sheathing surface of an adjacent tile panel. To accommodate an interlock channel 36, the sheathing surface 12 can comprise an overall greater thickness, or it can be formed thicker at one or more edges so that an interlock channel 36 can be formed therein.

In a still further alternative embodiment, one or more interlock channels 36 can be formed entirely within the backing material 20. For example, the backing material 20 can be sufficiently extended to the leading edge 150 of a first tile panel 10 sheathing surface 12 so that an interlock channel can be formed therein that will accommodate the trailing edge 300 of a second tile panel 10 sheathing surface 12. In this embodiment, the edge of the sheathing surface 12 of the second tile panel that is engaged with the interlock channel 36 of the first tile panel will be in contact only with the backing material. Thus, the edges of the sheathing surfaces 12 will be substantially covered with backing material and will not be in contact.

In a yet further alternative embodiment, the backing material of the second tile panel can be extended past the edge, or may even cover or partially surround, the trailing edge 300 of the sheathing surface, for example as shown in FIG. 14. In this embodiment, when the leading edge 150 and the trailing edge 300 are engaged, the backing material 20 of the interlock channel 36 of the first tile contacts the backing material 20 surrounding, or partially surrounding, the trailing edge 300 of the second tile panel. This can provide an even more airtight seal to prevent windlift.

In most roofing designs, there are one or more roof apex points or drip edges that must be covered in addition to the other areas of the roof structure. In tile roofs, these areas usually require special tiles to “cap” or seal the exposed edge. Following are examples of a specialized ridge crown panel 40, hip panel 50, gable panel 60, drip edge panel 70, and a valley seal 80 that can be utilized with the installation method and tile panels 10 of the subject invention.

EXAMPLE 1

Roof Drip Edge Panel

In most conventional roof structures, particularly tile roof structures, the drip edge of the roof is a weak point which allows the ingress of the elements, particularly wind. It is wind ingress on the leading edge of a roof line that can be particularly severe. In high wind conditions, the edge can be lifted from the support structure exposing the underlying roof decking to the elements, or, in extreme circumstances, completely removing the tiles. Therefore, it is desirable to close or seal the drip edge to resist wind-lift.

Referring to FIGS. 9 and 10, the subject invention provides for a drip edge panel 40 that can secure and protect the leading drip edge tile panels 10. The drip edge panel 40 can comprise a variety of materials, which will become apparent to one with skill in the art. However, in a preferred embodiment, the drip edge panel 40 comprises a lightweight concrete, as described for the sheathing surface. In one embodiment, a drip edge panel 40 is an elongated panel comprising a leading edge guard 44 and one or more mounting holes 14.

A drip edge panel can comprise a variety of decorative or functional shapes, or surface configurations. In addition, a person with skill in the art will readily recognize numerous shapes for drip edge panels or components thereof that would be appropriate for use with the subject invention. Such modifications are contemplated to be within the scope of the present invention.

A drip edge panel 40 is designed to be inserted and secured under the tile panels 10 at the edge of a roof, particularly on a roof drip edge. Once installed, the leading edge guard 44 on the drip edge panel 40 provides a “wind-break” on the front side of the leading edge of tile panels 40, which can reduce or eliminate wind-lifting of the leading edge tile panels. Therefore, in a preferred embodiment, the front profile 48 of the leading edge guard 44 is compatible with the profile of the tile panel 10 against which it will be used. For example, if utilized with barrel-style tile panels, the front profile 48 may be curvilinear to match the profile of the barrel-style tile panels. FIG. 10 illustrates an example of this type of drip edge panel 40.

In a further preferred embodiment, the drip edge panel 40 comprises at least one interlock flange 42 on the backside 45 of the edge panel that can be inserted into an interlock channel 36, discussed above, in a tile panel 10. An interlock flange 42, for example as shown in FIG. 9, can provide further stability to and proper installation of a drip edge panel 40, as well as helping to secure the interlocked tile panel 10 against wind lifting. The interlock flange can be contiguous or comprise one or more sections.

In a still further preferred embodiment, a drip edge panel 40 can comprise a drip edge 46 along the front of the leading edge guard 44. The drip edge 46 can be straight, bent or curved to any desired angle and may have a variety of designs or decorations incorporated into or thereon. The drip edge 46 can provide a controlled flow of water from the tile panels 10 away from the roof fascia and sides of a home or building.

The drip edge panels can be secured using a variety of techniques and methods. They can be secured to the edge of the roof structure and/or the tile panels 10 at the roof edge.

However, in a preferred embodiment, the drip edge panels 40 further comprise mounting holes 14. Once positioned, the drip edge panels can be secured using standard roofing nails or screws in the mounting holes 14. The proximity of the nails and/or screws along the edge of a roof and the use of an interlock flange 42 in an interlock channel 36 lends the tile panel 10 system of the subject invention even further resistance to wind-lifting.

EXAMPLE 2

Ridge Crown Tile Panel

Standard roof designs usually have at least one roof ridge which must be sealed, particularly on tile roof designs, to protect underlying roof structure or roof decking from the elements. This can be accomplished with a variety of techniques and devices known to those with skill in the art. Usually overlapping concave curved or rounded tiles are installed along the roof ridge to prevent ingress of water and other elements under the tiles. Often, a beam of 2″×4″ or 2″×6″ board is positioned along the ridge line to which the curved or rounded tiles may be secured with one or more nails or screws and, often, an adhesive material. However, these techniques, with or without the additional board, create large areas of air space under the tiles making them susceptible negative pressure effects and wind-lift.

To address this problem, the subject invention utilizes a crown tile panel 50. A crown tile panel can comprise a variety of decorative or functional shapes, or surface configurations. A person with skill in the art will readily recognize numerous shapes for crown tile panels that would be appropriate for use with the subject invention. Such modifications are contemplated to be within the scope of the present invention.

A preferred embodiment of the crown tile panel 50 of the subject invention comprises an elongated curved sheathing surface 52, similar to that described above, having a concave bottom side 24 or curved profile that can be installed in an overlapping fashion across a roof ridge. An example of this embodiment is shown in FIGS. 7A and 7B. In a further embodiment, the sheathing surface 12 of the crown panel 10 comprises an interlock method to assist in maintaining the position of the installed tiles along the roof ridge. In this embodiment, the top surface 26 or convexly curved profile trailing edge 300 of the crown panel 50 comprises a notch or groove 54 around the convex circumference of the sheathing surface. The leading edge 150 of the tile comprises a collar 56 extending around at least a portion of the concave bottom side of the crown panel 50, and follows the circumference of the curved tile panel 50, for example, as shown in FIG. 7B. When laid end to end, the collar 56 on a first crown panel can be positioned in the groove 54 of a second crown panel in an essentially straight line along a roof ridge, of which an embodiment of this assembly is shown in FIG. 7D.

The crown panels 50 of the subject invention can be secured to the roof ridge similarly to the other tiles described above, in that they can be adhered to the tile panels 10 with adhesives, grouts or similar materials. Alternatively, a 2″×4″ or 2″×6″ board can be positioned along the roof ridge, between the tile panels 10 and the crown panels 50 secured thereto with standard nails or screws, optionally in addition to using an adhesive or similar material.

In an alterative embodiment, a locking track 58 is incorporated with the crown panels 50 to facilitate better adherence to a roof ridge beam 100, such as a 2″×4″ or 2″×6″ board or other similar device. In a preferred embodiment, the locking track 58 is a substantially U-shaped frame of approximately the same length as a crown panel 50, as illustrated in FIGS. 7A, 7B and 7C. In further preferred embodiments, the locking track 58 is designed to fit over a roof ridge beam with minimal amount of space between the locking track 58 and the beam. As will be discussed below, the locking track 58 can, further, be fixedly attached to a beam via an adhesive applied to the inside of the locking track 58, the beam, or both. The dimensions of the locking track 58 utilized with the subject invention can vary. Such variances can be adjusted according to the size, shape and length of the beam, manufacturing and/or installation considerations, construction materials, etc. Crown panels currently known in the art usually sit on a roof ridge beam, such that the only contact between them is where the underside of the crown panel touches the top edge of the roof ridge beam. However, in a preferred embodiment of the crown panel of the subject invention, the dimensions of the locking track 58, which actually straddles at least a portion of the beam and extends along at least a portion of the sides of the beam, are such that there is approximately 25% to about 200% additional surface area or more that can be utilized to contact, hold and/or adhere the crown panel 50 to a beam. In a further preferred embodiment, the dimensions of the locking track 58 are such that there is at least about 200% more surface area that can be utilized to contact, hold, and/or adhere to the crown panel 50 to a beam.

The locking track 58 of the subject invention should comprise material suitable for contact with and, preferably, adherence to, a roof beam, for example, various types of plastics, woods, metals, concretes, foams, or combinations or composites thereof, may be utilized. In a preferred embodiment, the locking track 58 comprises a rigid material of sufficient durability and strength to hold a crown panel 50 in place along the roof ridge and withstand environmental conditions for several years. It can be molded into the sheathing surface, or defined in the backing material, or incorporated in addition to the backing material and the sheathing surface.

In a further preferred embodiment, foam or foam-like backing material 20 is utilized with the crown panels on both sides of the locking track to further reduce the amount of air space under the crown panels 50, and provide additional benefits as described above. The foam backing material 20 utilized with the crown panel 50 should be configured so as to accommodate the surrounding roofing tile panels 10 against which it will be set. Therefore, it may be necessary for the foam backing material 20 to be molded or fixedly attached in an accommodating fashion so that the crown panels 50 can be positioned against the roof tile panels 10 so as to reduce the ingress of elements, particularly wind, under the crown panels 50. FIG. 7A depicts a cross-section of a crown panel wherein the foam backing material 20 is molded towards the apex of the curve to accommodate the surrounding roof tile panels against which it would be placed in operation.

In a further preferred embodiment, the locking track 58 is fixedly connected to the crown panel 50. This can be accomplished by several means known in the art, including, but not limited to adhesives, screws, nuts, bolts or other attachment means. In a preferred embodiment, the locking track 58 further comprises an anchor end 59 that is pressed, pushed, or otherwise set into the lightweight concrete during the manufacture of the sheathing surface 52. In a further preferred embodiment, the anchor end 59 comprises ridges, grooves, holes, or other means whereby the concrete can integrate with the anchor end 59 so that, when the lightweight concrete is firm, the locking track 58 is securely affixed to the bottom side 24 of the sheathing surface.

During installation the crown panel is positioned over the roof beam with the locking track 58. Mounting holes 14 in the crown panel can be used to secure it to the beam. Additionally, an adhesive, grout, additional cement, or similar materials can be used to further secure the locking track 58 to the beam. Additional crown panels are positioned end to end via the tongue 56 and groove 54 mechanisms described above.

In still further preferred embodiments, portions of the backing material 20 or locking track 58, or both of these, can extend slightly forward at their leading edge 150 so as to be received under the trailing edge 300 of an adjacent crown panel during installation, thereby providing still further increased resistance to wind lifting.

It is well known in the art to use caps on the ends of the roof ridge tiles to close and/or seal the exposed tile ends. In an embodiment of the subject invention, crown panel caps may also be utilized to close, seal or otherwise cover the ends of the curved tile panels at the ends of the roof ridges. In a preferred embodiment, the caps utilized with the subject invention will also utilize a locking track 58.

EXAMPLE 3

Hip Tile Panel

The hip of a roof is a point where a roof makes a turn to go in another direction. Usually, hip lines extend downward from an essentially horizontal roof ridge. This presents another area that should be sealed against the elements, particularly wind and water. To cover and protect these areas when using the tile panel of the subject invention to cover a structure, the subject invention utilizes an elongated hip panel 60. A hip panel 60 of the subject invention combines features of the crown panel and the tile panel to provide a secure, wind and weather resistant covering for a roof hip. An example of one embodiment of a hip panel 60 of the subject invention is shown in FIGS. 8A and 8B. In a preferred embodiment, the hip panels 60 overlap in an end-to-end fashion along the line of a roof hip.

A hip tile panel can comprise a variety of decorative or functional shapes, or surface configurations. In addition, a person with skill in the art will readily recognize numerous shapes for hip tile panels that would be appropriate for use with the subject invention. Such modifications are contemplated to be within the scope of the present invention.

One embodiment of a hip panel comprises a sheathing surface 62 with a curved profile, similar to that used for crown panels 50. In this embodiment, the concavely curved surface defines the bottom side 24 of the sheathing surface and the convexly curved surface defines the top side 25 of the sheathing surface. However, the sheathing surface 62 may resemble any shape or configuration, and can include other decorative or functional features as necessary or desired. It is most important that the sheathing surface 62 provide sufficient protection and drainage characteristics to protect the underlying roof support structures.

In a further embodiment of a hip panel, a locking track 64 is integrally connected to the bottom side 24 of the sheathing surface 62, similarly as discussed previously for a crown panel 50. The locking track 64 of the hip panel 60 is of sufficient length to ensure proper and secure placement of the hip panel, but does not interfere with the insertion of additional hip panels above or below it. An example of a locking track 64 used with a hip panel of the subject invention is shown in FIG. 8B. Thus, when installing a hip panel 60, a beam, for example, but not limited to, a 2″×4″ or 2″×6″ board, is installed along the length of the roof hip line, between the tile panels 10 on either side of the roof hip line. The beam can be held in place by a variety of techniques and methods that will be apparent to one with skill in the art. However, in a preferred embodiment, the beam utilized with the hip panel 60 of the subject invention is secured to the roof structure with straps of sufficient strength to withstand extreme weather or high wind conditions. In a further preferred embodiment, hip panels 60 are positioned along the length of the beam using the locking track 64 to ensure proper and secure placement.

In a still further embodiment, hip panels 60 can be held in place along the length of the beam utilizing devices or methods known in the art. In a preferred embodiment, the hip panels 60 further comprise mounting holes 14, as discussed above, through which standard roofing nails or screws can be used to secure the hip panels 60 to the beam. In a further preferred embodiment, an adhesive, grout, or similar material is also utilized between the beam and the locking track 64 to further secure the hip panels 60 to the beam.

In a still further embodiment, the hip panels 60 comprise foam backing material 20 on the bottom side 24 of the sheathing layer 62, on both sides of the locking track, as described above for the crown panels 50. As discussed above, the foam backing material 20 fills the air space under the hip panels 60 to combat negative pressure effects and provide a further insulation factor.

In an alternative embodiment, the foam backing material can be formed with locking channel 64 therethrough such that a separate locking channel would not be necessary. In this embodiment, the foam-formed locking channel 64 is seated and affixed directly onto the beam.

In a preferred embodiment, the foam backing material 20 is molded, formed or otherwise positioned so as not to interfere with the placement of a hip panel 60 against the tile panels 10 on either side of the roof hip line, for example as shown in FIG. 8A. In a further preferred embodiment, the foam backing material 20 provides an additional means for interlocking the hip panels 60 during installation. In this preferred embodiment, the foam backing material 20 of the hip panels 60 further comprises one or more interlock channels 66 at the leading edge 200 of the hip panel 60 for example, as shown in FIGS. 8A and 8B. In addition, the trailing edge 400 of the hip panel provides an overlap 68 in the sheathing layer 62 that corresponds to the shape of the interlock channel 66.

During installation, the hip panels 60 are placed in an ascending over-lapping fashion, wherein the overlap 68 at the trailing edge 400 of a first installed, usually lower, hip panel is inserted under the sheathing surface 62 of a second installed, usually higher, hip panel so that the overlap 68 of said first hip panel inserts into the at least one interlock channel 66 in the foam backing material 20 at the leading edge 200 of the second overlapping hip panel 60.

In a further preferred embodiment, the foam backing material 20 of one hip panel 60 is configured complementary to the foam backing material 20 of the adjacent hip panels forming an essentially continuous layer of foam backing material 20 under the installed hip panels 60. This can help combat negative pressure effects and provide an additional insulation factor.

It is also well known in the art to use caps on the ends of the roof hip tiles. In an embodiment of the subject invention, hip panel caps may also be utilized to close, seal or otherwise cover the ends of the hip panels 60 at bottom of roof hip line. In a preferred embodiment, the caps utilized with the subject invention will also have a locking track 68, and the overlapping and interlocking capabilities described for the hip panels to allow proper drainage.

EXAMPLE 4

Gable Panel

A roof with a gabled end is one with a straight slope falling from the roof ridge to the eave creating a peak on the side or front facade. Gabled roofs have rakes on the gabled facades that should be protected to prevent access of rain and wind under the roofing tiles to the underlying roof support structures.

The subject invention utilizes a gable end panel 70 to cover and protect this area of a roof. In one embodiment, the gable end panel 70 comprises several features of the above-described tile 10, crown 50, and hip 60 panels. One embodiment of a gable end panel 70 of the subject invention is shown in FIG. 11.

A gable end panel can comprise a variety of decorative or functional shapes, or surface configurations. In addition, a person with skill in the art will readily recognize numerous shapes for gable end panels that would be appropriate for use with the subject invention. Such modifications are contemplated to be within the scope of the present invention.

In a preferred embodiment, the gable end panels 70 of the subject invention comprise a curved sheathing surface 72, a leading edge 200 and a trailing edge 400, an outside edge 78 of the sheathing layer 72 that extends over the roof rake and an inside edge 79 that extends over the roof or other structure. In another preferred embodiment, the outside edge 78 of the sheathing surface is elongated to cover a greater area of the fascia board or beam, discussed below. This can provide a more controlled drainage of water from the roof. However, it should be understood that the gable end panels 70 of the subject invention may resemble any shape or configuration, and can include other decorative or functional features as necessary. It is most important that the shape of the gable end panel provide adequate drainage and protection for the underlying roof support from the environmental elements, particularly rain and wind. It will be apparent to one with skill in the art that numerous functional or decorative shapes may be utilized for the sheathing surface 72.

In a further embodiment of a gable end panel 70, a locking track 74 is integrally connected to the bottom side 24 of the sheathing surface 72, similarly as discussed previously for a crown 50 or hip 60 panel. The locking track 74 of the gable end panel 70 should be of sufficient length to ensure proper and secure placement of the gable end panel, but should not interfere with the insertion of additional tile panels above or below it. An example of a locking track 74 used with a tile panel of the subject invention is shown in FIG. 11. To install a gable end panel 70, a beam or fascia board, for example, but not limited to, a 2″×4″ or 2″×6″ board, is fixedly connected along the length of the roof rake line using techniques known in the art. In a preferred embodiment, gable end panels 70 are positioned along the length of the beam using the locking track 74 to ensure proper and secure placement. An embodiment of the locking track 74 that can be utilized with the gable end panels 70 is shown in FIG. 11.

In a preferred method of installation, the gable end panels 70 are installed in an ascending end-overlapping-end fashion using the locking tracks 74 to ensure proper and secure placement. In a further preferred embodiment, the gable end panels 70 comprise mounting holes 14 for securing the gable end panels 70 to a beam. In a still further preferred embodiment, an adhesive, grout or similar material is used between the locking track 74 and the beam to further secure the gable end panels 70.

In a further embodiment, the gable end panels 70 comprise foam backing material 20 on the bottom side 24 of the sheathing layer 72, on both sides of the locking track, as described above for the crown 50 and hip 60 panels. As discussed above, foam backing material 20 can fill air space under the gable end panels 70 to combat negative pressure effects and provide a further insulation factor. In a preferred embodiment, the foam backing material 20 can be molded, formed or otherwise positioned so as not to interfere with the placement of gable end panels 70 against the tile panels 10 on edge of gable roof end line, for example as shown in FIG. 11.

In a further embodiment, the foam backing material 20 provides an additional means for interlocking the gable end panels 70 during installation. In a preferred embodiment, the foam backing material 20 of the gable end panels 70 further comprises one or more interlock channels 76 at the leading edge 200 of the gable end panel 70 for example, as shown in FIG. 11. In addition, as described above for the hip panels 60, the trailing edge 400 of the gable end panel 70 provides an overlap in the sheathing layer 72 that corresponds to the shape of the interlock channel 76.

During installation, the gable end panels 70 are positioned similarly as described above for the hip panels 60. The gable end panels 70 are installed in an ascending fashion, wherein the sheathing layer overlap in the distal end 400 of a first installed gable end panel slides under the proximal end 200 of the sheathing layer of a second installed gable end panel, and interlocks with the interlock channel 76 in the foam backing material 20 of the second gable end panel. In a further preferred embodiment, the foam backing material 20 of one gable end panel 70 is configured to abut against the foam backing material 20 of the adjacent gable end panels forming a substantially continuous layer of foam backing material 20 under the installed gable end panels 70. This can combat negative pressure effects and provide an additional insulation factor.

EXAMPLE 5

Roof Valley Seal

The valley on a roof is created when a roof changes direction. It is the point where the two planes of a roof meet to form a seam. In current roofing installation, a flashing material is usually installed in this seam area to protect the underlying roof structure from water drainage. However, this technique does not combat negative pressure effects.

The subject invention utilizes a grout or mortar based material with sufficient strength to withstand environmental conditions, extreme or otherwise, to seal this area. With the tile panel system and installation of the subject invention, this will provide a roof sealed and protected from the elements, and able to withstand extreme weather and wind conditions.

EXAMPLE 6

Installation Method

The tile panels and associated specialized panels described above are preferably installed in a standard overlapping fashion well-known in the art. The tile and other panels of the subject invention are similarly installed. However, the interlock features for the panels provided with the subject invention require an additional consideration when installing the panels on a structure. The following installation method illustrates use of the tile panels as a roof covering. However, it will be understood by a person with skill in the art that this method can be modified for installation on other structures.

After insuring that all underlayment, e.g., support structures, flashing, etc., are installed, it is necessary to next determine the starting point for laying the first tile(s). In a preferred embodiment, the panels of the subject invention are designed to be installed starting from one of the lower edges of a roof. In a further preferred embodiment, the interlock features are designed so that the panels are installed starting from the right side of one of the lower edges of a roof.

After determining the appropriate starting point, the first tile panel should be placed against the support structure, e.g., roof decking, to determine whether it needs to be cut to accommodate the shape of the roof area to be covered. If necessary, the tile should be cut so that the angle of the cut is flush with roof edge against which it will be placed, whether it is a roof valley, hip, or gable end.

In this installation, the tile panels 10 are interconnected with the drip edge panels 40 along the edge of the roof line. Therefore, the initial tile panel 10 should be placed so as to determine where the associated drip edge panel 40 must also be placed. Once this has been determined and the positions fixed for the initial drip edge panel 40, all of the additional drip edge panels can be installed along the roof edge using, preferably, an adhesive as well as nails or screws to hold them in place.

The tile panels 10 can then be installed starting against the drip edge panels 40, from the right side all the way to the left side of the roof, preferably using an adhesive along with nails or screws to secure the tile panels in place. The second row of tile panels 10 is also started along the right side of the roof. It is further preferable for the seam of the tile panels 10 in the first row to be situated in the middle of the tile panel of the second, overlapping row of tile panels 10, to create a staggered tile pattern. Therefore, as mentioned above, if it is necessary to cut the tile panel 10, the cut should match as close as possible the angle of the roof edge against which it will be placed, whether it is a roof valley, hip, or gable end. As an example, if the starting point is a roof valley, it is preferable to leave no more than approximately 1″ between the tile panel and the valley edge. In the case of a hip or gable starting point, it is preferable for the tile panels to almost touch the hip or gable beam on which the hip panel and gable panels will later be installed.

Tile panels 10 can continue to be installed in this fashion across the roof until the final row along the roof ridge. At this point, it may be necessary to cut the tile panels 10 so that they cover the roof line and almost touch the roof ridge beam on which the crown panels will later be installed. It may also be necessary to drill or otherwise create holes in the tile panels 10 along the roof ridge line, if the ends with the mounting holes 14 must be cut away to accommodate the roof ridge beam. Once the entire roof surface has been covered with the tile panels 10, the hip, gable and ridge crown panels can be installed where necessary.

The hip panels 60 are installed beginning from the bottom edge of the roof hip so the panels can be properly attached using the nails or screws before the subsequent hip panel is installed to overlap the first one. Again, it is preferable to use an adhesive along with the nails or screws to secure the hip panels against the beam. Once the first hip panel is in place and secured, subsequent hip panels can be installed using the locking tracks 64 to place and secure the hip panels against the beam and the interlock channel 66 to connect and secure the hip panels in an end-to-end and overlapping fashion along the roof hip line. All of the hip panels 60 should be installed in this fashion.

The gable panels 70 are installed similarly to the hip panels 60 beginning from the bottom edge of the roof gable line so they can be properly secured, preferably with an adhesive and nails or screws, and overlapped. As described above, gable panels 70 have an elongated outside edge 78 which should be positioned over the edge of the roof gable line to facilitate water drainage away from the roof and structure. Gable panels are positioned on a beam utilizing a locking track 74, similar to the hip panels, and they interlock using an interlock channel 76.

Once the hip 60 and gable panels 70 have been installed, the crown panels 50 are used to close and seal the roof ridge. In a preferred method, installation of the crown panels 50 begins on the left side of the roof line, with the groove 54 end towards the right side of the roof line. Thus, the crown panels 50 are installed in a left to right fashion using the locking track 58 to place and secure the crown panels with the tongue 56 of one crown panel seated in the groove 54 of the adjacent crown panel 50. Again, it is preferable to use an adhesive along with nails or screws to secure the crown panels.

The final step is to seal off the valley seams and the ends of the hip, gable or crown panels. Specialized caps as described above can be used to close the ends of the hip, gable or crown panels. Alternatively, or in addition, grout, cement or similar material can be used to seal these areas, as well as any valley seams. In addition, it is customary and preferable to further seal all open areas between the panels 10 and any hip 60, gable 70, or crown 50 panels to resist intrusion of wind or water under the roof system.

II. Tenon and Mortise Interlock Tile Panel

With regard to the above description of the overlap interlocking tile panels, an alternative embodiment utilizes a tenon and mortise (also called a tongue-and-groove) interlock system. An example of this selectively interlocking embodiment can be seen in FIGS. 12A and 12B.

This embodiment utilizes a tenon and mortise interlock system 90, wherein at least one tenon 92 is formed on the bottom side 24 at or near at least one edge of a tile panel 10 and at least one congruously shaped mortise 94 is formed into at least one other edge of the tile. In a preferred embodiment, the at least one tenon 92 is formed as part of the leading edge 150 of a tile and the mortise 94 is formed as part of the trailing edge 300 of a tile.

A mortise and tenon of the subject application may utilize a variety of shapes capable of being operably engaged or interlocked. In a preferred embodiment, the shape and/or configuration of the tenon and mortise will enable the tenon 92 to be engaged with the mortise 94 by sliding the tenon into the mortise. In a still further preferred embodiment, the tenon 92 and mortise 94 are formed in a dove-tail configuration, wherein, the tenon 92 is flared such that the base 97 that engages with the mortise 94 is wider than the apex 98 that intersects and fixedly connects with the bottom side 24 of the tile. Such a configuration is well-known in the art and a person with skill in the art will be able to determine the appropriate angle of flare required for the materials utilized for a sheathing surface 12.

A corresponding groove or mortise 94 can be formed as part of at least one other edge of a tile, where the circumferential shape of the mortise 94 corresponds to the circumferential shape of the at least one tenon 92, for example, as shown in FIGS. 12A and 12B. In a preferred embodiment, the dimensions of a mortise 94 are sufficiently larger than the dimensions of a tenon 92 to ensure that they can be fit together with general ease without damage to the tile panel 10 or having excessive space for movement or play between the sides of the tenon and the sides of the mortise.

In one embodiment, a tile panel 10 has at least one tenon 92 positioned at the leading edge 150, but offset from the center line 500 between the leading edge 150 and the trailing edge 300. A corresponding at least one mortise 94 is positioned at the trailing edge 300 of the tile and is offset from the longitudinal center line 500 to the opposite side of the tile as the tenon 92. Thus, when the tenon of a first tile is inserted into the mortise of a second tile the tiles will be offset permitting a staggered pattern when numerous tiles are connected.

A preferred embodiment utilizes a modified dove-tail configuration. In this embodiment, a tile panel 10 has one tenon 92 centered at the leading edge 150. A correspondingly shaped mortise 94 is divided between the comer edges 99 of the trailing edge 300 of the tile, such that a first side of a mortise 95 is formed at one comer edge 99 of the tile panel and a mirror-image thereof forms the second side of a mortise 96 at the opposite comer edge of the tile panel. In this embodiment, a complete mortise 94 is formed by two separate tiles, such that when two tiles are positioned side-by-side, with the trailing edges 300 being substantially co-planar, the combined comer edges define a full mortise 94.

In a preferred embodiment, when a tenon is interlocked with a mortise, the tiles will preferably be arranged in a staggered and overlapping configuration. In a further preferred embodiment, to maintain their interlocking overlapped positions, the tile panels can be further affixed to a roof decking via techniques and device discussed above. The ability to interlock the leading edges 150 with the trailing edges 300 and by further affixing the tiles to a roof decking or other structure ensures that wind-lifting of the tiles, even in extreme weather and high-wind conditions will be reduced or eliminated.

III. Tile Bracket

A further alternative embodiment provides a tile bracket apparatus that can be incorporated into existing tiles or even certain embodiments of the tile panels of the subject invention. With regard to FIG. 13A, it can be seen that an embodiment of a tile bracket 600 of the subject invention is fixedly attached to a tile using a flange 610. The flange can be incorporated into a tile at the time of manufacture or affixed to the tile by a variety of techniques after manufacture, such as for example, with adhesives, screws, nails, bolts, combinations thereof, etc. For certain tile types, the tile brackets 610 of the subject invention could even be fixedly attached onto tiles already installed on a structure. FIG. 13A shows an example of a tile bracket that can be incorporated into the tile material. FIG. 13B shows an example of a tile bracket that can affixed to a tile by alternative techniques.

A bracket arm 615 is affixed to the flange 610 and extends generally perpendicularly from the flange 610. The bracket arm 615 can extend from the flange 610 to any desirable height. However, in a preferred embodiment, the height of the bracket arm 615 will correspond to the thickness of the tile panels with which it will be used. Fixedly connected to the bracket arm 615 is a tile stop 620 that extends generally perpendicularly from that end of the bracket arm 615 opposite the flange 610. The tile stop 620 is directed towards the trailing edge 300 of a tile and along with the bracket arm 615 forms a notch 630 into which the leading edge 150 of an overlapping tile panel 10 can be placed.

When the leading edge 150 of a tile or a tile panel of the subject invention is positioned within the notch 630, the bracket arm 615 prevents the tile from changing position and the tile stop 620 prevents wind-lift of the leading edge. The tile panels can be further affixed to the roof decking 16 or other underlying structure by procedures and methods discussed above to provide further protection against wind-lift and/or repositioning of the tiles.

In a preferred embodiment, at least one tile bracket 600 is affixed approximately 3 inches to approximately 5 inches from the trailing edge 300 of a tile. This allows the tiles to be overlapped when positioned within the tile brackets 600.

The tile brackets 600 can comprise any of a variety of materials having the necessary resistance to environmental conditions, including, for example, various metals, plastics, ceramics, clay, cement, wood, or composites thereof, etc. In addition, the tile bracket 600 or components thereof can embody any desired decorative features. For example, the tile brackets can be any of a variety of colors to complement and/or blend with the tiles or tile panels with which they are utilized, and the bracket arm 615 and/or the tile stop 620 can further embody any desired shape. In one embodiment, the tile brackets 600 are aluminum and the tile stop 620 is formed as a flattened flange 650 that can lie flush with the top surface 26 of a tile, as shown for example in FIG. 13B.

In further alternative embodiments of the tile bracket 600 of the subject invention, any of an assortment of accessories can be affixed to or formed as part of the tile bracket. For example, snow guards are well-known in snowy climates. Therefore, in one alternative embodiment, snow guards can be incorporated into the tile brackets of the subject invention. By way of example, the tile stop 620 of a tile bracket 600 could be modified to include a snow guard apparatus. It is also well-known in the art to decorate snow guards with various shapes, motifs, styles, colors, and to adjust the angles, widths, etc., to accommodate various expected snowfall amounts. Such decorative or adjustable features could also be used with the snow guards incorporated into the tile brackets 600 of the subject invention.

A further alternative embodiment can incorporate various blades, vanes or fins for controlling the absorption of thermal energy. It is well-known in the art to utilize various materials to absorb heat and re-direct it away from an underlying structure, such as a roof. Thus, the tile brackets 600 of the subject invention could incorporate components for absorbing thermal heat and dissipating it into the surround environment. For example, various shaped projections, fins, rods, etc. could extend from the bracket arm 615 and/or the tile stop 620.

All patents, patent applications, provisional applications, and publications referred to or cited herein are incorporated by reference in their entirety, including all figures and tables, to the extent they are not inconsistent with the explicit teachings of this specification.

It should be understood that the examples and embodiments described herein are for illustrative purposes only and that various modifications or changes in light thereof will be suggested to persons skilled in the art and are to be included within the spirit and purview of this application.